If Alaska isn’t on your list of potential places to elope, I promise you’ll want to add it after reading this article. Alaska is the largest state in the United States, but surprisingly, it’s often overlooked and not thought of as an elopement destination, even though it truly has it all. If you’re looking for a jaw dropping wedding destination filled with snow-capped mountain peaks, fields of wildflowers, herds of wildlife, gigantic glaciers, and so much more, look no further because Alaska is the perfect place for you.
In this guide, I included everything you need to know about how to elope in Alaska, including how to get a marriage license, the best places to elope in Alaska, the best places to stay, and even Alaska elopement packages. Let’s get into it!
9 Best Places to Elope in Alaska
As an adventure elopement photographer who travels frequently, I can tell you that Alaska is filled with some of the most beautiful and wild places I’ve ever been to. These are the 9 best places to elope in Alaska.
Pro tip: Overwhelmed with location options? As a photographer who specializes in adventure elopements, I send a questionnaire to all my couples to help find them off-the-beaten-path hidden gem locations for their Alaska elopements!
Hatcher Pass is one of Alaska’s most popular places to visit. Located 90 minutes outside of Anchorage, Hatcher Pass is a scenic drive that winds through the mountains for 60 miles. Most people stop at the top of the pass where you can access alpine lakes, mountain views, and wildflower meadows right from your car. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite locations for Alaska elopements, as there is so much to do and see. It’s also the perfect location for elopements with friends and family, as it’s extremely accessible for guests of all ages.
If you’re up for a hiking elopement, consider hiking Portage Pass, a 4.2 mile hike to a breathtaking lake overlook and glacier. The hike is mainly uphill, so it’s not the best for friends and family, but boy is the view worth it! Portage Pass is located in Whittier, a small town at the head of the Passage Canal with a population of just 220 people. Not up for hiking? Don’t worry. There are a ton of accessible hidden gems around the Portage Pass trail that make great ceremony locations for your Alaska elopement.
Tongass National Forest
The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is the largest U.S. National Forest with over 16.7 million acres to explore. Tongass is home to some of the most popular places to visit in Alaska, like Mendenhall Glacier and Deer Mountain. Most of the forest is remote and located on various islands. While you can reach other part of the forest via seaplanes, boats, and helicopters, most couples stick to the Juneau area for their elopement, where you can explore most of the forest by car or foot.
Denali National Park
Alaska is home to the United States largest national parks, and Denali National Park, so surprise, comes in at #3. The park has over 6 million acres and hold North America’s tallest mountain peak. The park is most famous for its mountain range and endless wildlife. From bears and moose to wolves and sheep, this area of Alaska encompasses some of the most rugged terrain in the state. In Denali, you can find a variety of different elopement locations, from accessible lakes to off-the-beaten-path mountain trails. There is something for everyone in Denali.
Kenai Peninsula (Homer, Seward, Kachemak Bay)
The Kenai Peninsula is one of my personal favorite Alaska elopement locations. Made up of small coastal-like towns like Homer and Seward, the Kenai Peninsula is the perfect location for couples looking for seaside views and marine wildlife. This area is popular for whale watching, fishing, and hiking. There are also many drive-up elopement locations along the nearby bay, rivers, and lakes. One of my favorite parts about this location are the mountain views that can be seen from every town.
Matanuska Glacier is one of Alaska’s most accessible glaciers. It also happens to be the largest glacier in the United States that can be reached by a car. You can only access the glacier through a guided tour, which at the time of writing this article, is around $150 a person. These tours are offered year-round. In the summer, they do have self-guided tours (no tour guide), which are around $30. However, they only offer those until 5pm. If you’re hoping to walk on a glacier in Alaska, you’d be hard-pressed to find one as accessible as Matanuska.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is Alaska’s largest national park, coming in at just over 13.2 million acres! That’s the size of Yellowstone National Park put together 6 times! The park is known as “the mountain kingdom of North America,” famous for its insane amount of glaciers, volcanoes, and wildlife. The park is so mountainous that only two roads enter the park. Most people who visit the park take helicopters and fly into the park for backcountry hiking, mountaineering, and rafting. It’s a true adventurer’s paradise.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park is one of my personal favorite places in the world, and one of my most-recommend Alaska elopement locations for couples looking for a variety of epic landscapes, activities, and accessible places. The park is well-known for its glaciers, coastal fjords, and practically guaranteed sightings of wildlife like orcas, sea otters, and whales. The park provides both leisurely and adventurous activities, such as boat tours, fishing, hiking, dog sledding, skiing, and so much more. Kenai Fjords is a true gem!
Bonus: Helicopter Elopements
We can’t talk about Alaska elopements without talking about helicopter tours.
Many couples who elope in Alaska tend to elope on top of remote glaciers and mountains, many of which can only be accessed through private helicopter rides. Luckily, most helicopter companies in Alaska have elopement packages! Helicopter elopements allow you to see some of the world’s most beautiful and remote locations. It’s the only way to get the most private and secluded elopement experience possible. Below are some of my favorite helicopter companies in Alaska.
- Alaska Helicopter Tours (Anchorage)
- Alpine Air Alaska (Girdwood)
- Helicopter Air Alaska (Ketchikan)
- Temsco Helicopters (Juneau)
- Denali Air (Denali National Park)
Be sure to check out my helicopter elopement guide to learn more about how to plan a helicopter elopement in Alaska and beyond!
How to Get a Marriage License in Alaska
Getting a marriage license in Alaska is a pretty straightforward process. Check out the steps below to see how to obtain a license for your elopement.
- Download the marriage license application here.
- Get a $60 check or money order for the application.
- After filling out the application, seal it up with the $60 fee and mail it in or drop it off at either an Alaska Court or the Vital Records Office in Juneau or Anchorage. Note that you must drop off the application at the location closest to your ceremony site. To see a list of all Alaska Courts, check out this database.
- Wait three days to pick up your license (Alaska has a waiting period), or about two weeks to have it mailed back.
- After your ceremony, return the signed license back to the Vital Records Office in Juneau or Anchorage.
The marriage license is valid for 90 days, so I recommend getting it a few weeks before your elopement so you’re not stressing about the paperwork leading up to your big day.
To see all the information and everything you need to know about obtaining a marriage license in Alaska, check out the official site here.
Do I Need an Officiant and Witness to Get Married in Alaska?
Yes, you will need two witnesses and an officiant in order to elope in Alaska. You can hire an ordained officiant in Alaska, have a friend or family member officiate your ceremony, or have me do it (it’s complimentary with all elopement packages).
Pro tip: Your friends and family can get ordained for free online through the Universal Life Church, but must notify the county clerk in Alaska to fill out some extra paperwork.
When is the Best Time of Year to Elope in Alaska?
Alaska doesn’t really have four seasons. Instead, they just have summer and winter. Now of course, the state does see fall colors and spring blossoms, but these times of year are short-lived, so many locals lump these times into the two seasons. Keep in mind that the temperatures vary greatly depending on where you decide to tie the knot since the state is so big. However, this should give you a good idea of when to elope in Alaska.
The summer, specifically the very beginning and very end, is hands-down the best time to elope in Alaska. Peak season for travel to Alaska is between mid-June to mid-August and should be avoided if you want to skip the crowds. The best two months to elope in Alaska are May and September. The weather will not only be nice, but the prices will be cheap and you’ll still be able to experience the beauty of Alaska without all the tourists.
In the summer, you’ll come across fields of wildflowers, walkable glaciers, outdoor excursions, roaring waterfalls, and so much more.
Summer also has the most amount of daylight. Tons of areas get a whopping 18 hours of daylight and don’t have sunsets until 11pm. Even then, the sun doesn’t really ever dip below the horizon, giving you that glowy golden light for hours.
If you’re dreaming of a snowy elopement, winter is the perfect time for you. Winter happens to be the longest season with the shortest amount of daylight. For your Alaska wedding, you might be looking at about 5 hours of light for your day, which is why I recommend having a 2-day elopement during the winter season.
With a huge amount of snow, Alaska is perfect for winter sports, cozy cabin fires, and exploring ice caves. You can also experience the Northern Lights during the winter if you’re lucky.
February and March are the best times to visit Alaska in the winter. Not only will you get the beautiful snow, but temperatures will be a bit more bearable and the hours of daylight start increasing.
How Much Does an Alaska Elopement Cost?
According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in Alaska is $17,361, which is half of what the cost of a wedding is in almost every other state. This is due to the small guest lists, as many people who get married in Alaska tend to elope!
To get an idea of what you want your own budget to look like for your Alaska elopement, I put together three different budget ideas to help you decide what you’re willing to spend for your elopement.
High-End Alaska Elopement
- $600 – plane tickets
- $60 – marriage license
- $100 – location permit
- $2,000 – three nights at a luxury resort
- $6,500 – photographer
- $700 – florist for bouquet and decor
- $3,000 – dress, accessories, and shoes
- $300 – hair and makeup
- $800 – suit, accessories, and shoes
- $1,500 – helicopter tour around Alaska
- $500 – private chef
- TOTAL: $16,060
Mid-End Alaska Elopement
- $600 – plane tickets
- $60 – marriage license
- $100 – location permit
- $1,000 – three nights at a 3-star hotel
- $4,500 – photographer
- $400 – florist for bouquet and light decor
- $1,500 – dress, accessories, and shoes
- $200 – hair and makeup
- $500 – suit, accessories, and shoes
- $600 – wildlife excursion
- TOTAL: $9,460
Low-End Alaska Elopement
- $600 – plane tickets
- $60 – marriage license
- $100 – location permit
- $500 – three nights at a simple hotel/airbnb
- $2,500 – photographer
- $200 – florist for bouquet
- $700 – dress, accessories, and shoes
- $100 – hair and makeup (or free if done yourself)
- $300 – suit (rented)
- TOTAL: $5,060
As you can see, there are a variety of different budgets and areas you can spend more or less on for your elopement. Keep in mind that these are not exact quotes of numbers for an elopement, but instead, some ideas and suggestions. The sky is the limit!
Alaska Elopement Timeline Examples
Are you curious as to how much coverage you need for your Alaska elopement? Check out a few of these timeline ideas to get some inspiration. In a place like Alaska, I recommend booking no less than 6 hours. This will allow you to truly take everything in and enjoy your special day without the rush.
6 Hour Elopement Timeline
- 4:00pm – ceremony starts at a secluded spot in Denali National Park with friends and family
- 4:30pm – family portraits and couples pictures within the forest
- 5:30pm – head to your resort for a private dinner
- 7:00pm – dinner ends and the couple sneaks away for some portraits at a nearby waterfall
- 7:30pm – pictures begin
- 8:30pm – pictures end, head back to the resort for fire and toasts by the mountains
- 10:00pm – Brianna leaves
8 Hour Elopement Timeline
- 12:00pm – getting ready pictures in an off-the-grid cabin in Alaska
- 1:00pm – leave for Hatcher Pass to get some epic portraits and do a first look
- 2:00pm – head towards Seward to explore the town and get some lunch at a local restaurant
- 3:30pm – helicopter flight to a private glacier for your intimate ceremony
- 4:00pm – begin epic ceremony
- 4:30pm – ceremony ends and couples portraits begin
- 5:00pm – head back to the cabin for letter reading from family members
- 5:30pm – arrive at the cabin and begin letter reading with reaction pictures
- 6:00pm – finish letter reading and start making an intimate dinner and dessert
- 8:00pm – Brianna leaves
12 Hour Elopement Timeline
- 9:00am – getting ready pictures in an Airbnb right next to a lake
- 10:00am – first look with your partner right next to the lake
- 10:30am – we head out to get some portraits in Denali National Park
- 11:30pm – romantic picnic next to the beautiful waterfall within the park
- 1:00pm – catch an hour flight to Fairbanks for your ceremony
- 2:15pm – arrive in Fairbanks and head to the resort where you meet up with family
- 2:45pm – ceremony begins by a nearby mountain in Fairbanks
- 3:15pm – family portraits and couples portraits
- 4:00pm – head back to the resort where dinner from a private chef is awaiting you
- 5:30pm – sneak away for a small hike up the mountain pass to get gorgeous images and a moment to yourselves
- 6:30pm – fire gets started next to a lake with your loved ones where you toast and eat smores
- 9:00pm – Brianna leaves
Alaska Elopement Ideas
Alaska is filled with tons of excursions and activities you can do for your wedding. Here are just a few ideas to help get you started.
- Glacier helicopter tour
- Bear viewing tour
- See the Northern Lights
- Rent a private ship for fishing or an intimate dinner
- Wildlife tour on a helicopter
- Kayaking or rafting tour
- Dog sledding
- Local food tour
- Daily cruise within a glacier passage
- Go waterfall hopping
- Ride the Alaskan railway
- Go whale watching
- Soak in the hot springs
- Winter sports – skiing, snowboarding, etc.
Alaska Elopement Checklist
#1: Book Your Vendors
You’re probably thinking… “book my vendors first?” Yes, book your vendors first, specifically your Alaska elopement photographer. Many elopement photographers, including myself, offer location scouting, permit assistance, vendor recommendations, and a ton of other perks in their Alaska elopement packages that will ease your planning load.
#2: Choose Your Elopement Location
Before you decide to do anything else, choose your location. The sooner you choose a location, the sooner you can book everything else such as your lodging, flights, etc. If you need help choosing your location, ask your photographer if they offer location scouting in their packages.
#3: Book Your Lodging, Flights, and Activities
If you’re flying into Alaska, you’ll probably fly into Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, or Ketchikan. I recommend booking your flights, lodging, and activities sooner rather than later, especially in the summer. Options can become very limited (and expensive) if you wait until the last second.
#4: Get Your Marriage License and Permits
Before your big day you need to make sure you have your marriage license and necessary permits to get married. Check out the section in this article that goes over everything you need to know about getting a marriage license in Alaska. Make sure to get any necessary permits as well, especially if you’re shooting in a national or state park. Not doing so can result in a cancellation of your wedding and hefty fines!
#5: Get Married and Celebrate
Now this is the part you’ve been waiting for. Now that the day is here, it’s time to celebrate! Take a second to soak it in and enjoy the scenery. I mean, how can you not when you’re in Alaska?
Alaska Elopement Packages
Convinced to elope in Alaska yet? If you are, check out this Alaska elopement package below to get an idea of what I include in all my elopement packages. I’m a Pacific Northwest elopement photographer who helps couples all around the world plan epic elopements all around the United States. To see more package options, or packages for areas other than Alaska, check out my pricing!
Alaska Elopement Pricing Guide
- 6 hours – 2 days of elopement coverage anywhere in Alaska
- A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- Personalized elopement location recommendations
- Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
- Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
- 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
- Customized elopement timelines
- Optional complimentary officiant services
- Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
- Travel fees to anywhere in Alaska are already included
- Starting at $8,500
It costs $60 to elope in Alaska. The $60 fee is from the marriage license. However, if you want to have a higher-end elopement, expect to pay around $10,000.
It takes three business days to get your marriage license in Alaska if you get it in person, but it can take up to 4 weeks if you mail it.
As long as they are ordained, anyone older than 18 years old can marry you in Alaska.
A marriage license costs $60 in Alaska.
You can elope almost anywhere in Alaska as long as you have a marriage license and the necessary permits. Popular spots to elope in Alaska include Denali National Park, Juneau, and Anchorage.
DON’T FORGET YOUR FREE ELOPEMENT GUIDE!
An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.
YOU? YOU’RE THE KIND OF PERSON THAT GETS A LIL’ TEARY EYED LOOKING AT AN EPIC VIEW.
That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.
These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.
(I promise you won’t regret it.)
P.S. I’m Brianna, and I plan, craft, and capture elopements around the Pacific Northwest. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.